Fast Path to Fulfillment During the Pandemic

By Kelly Jarrell
In Formed
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Do you feel face down in the mud these days? Many of us are struggling with increased stress as concerns about our health, finances, and family pile up.

Election season, regardless of party affiliation, has certainly brought frustration and angst into our lives. Unrest and even violence in our land due to racial issues and other concerns often leaves us feeling bleak about the future of our country. And people are literally being murdered over wearing a mask!

Maybe you feel you can barely make it through each day, and you feel depleted and hopeless. While we wait for the pandemic to end (they all do, eventually), how can we lift our mood and experience joy?

A simple, yet profound formula is found in Proverbs 11:25: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” A guaranteed way to lift your spirits and enliven your heart is to do good to others. Even science backs up what God’s word teaches. Science tells us that altruism is hard-wired in our brains and is a pleasurable secret to living a happier life. Reaching out is a powerful antidote, even if you feel you have nothing to offer.

Best of all, blessing someone does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. Even five minutes can make a difference. Nothing lifts your mood more quickly or helps others forget their problems like blessing someone else. And because of the times we live in, opportunities have never been more plentiful!

There are unlimited ways that you can serve and encourage others. Following are a few suggestions:

Your small group, neighbors, local friendsand relatives:

Our family has enjoyed placing surprises on the front porch of others. Some ideas:

  • paper goods (provides a break from the dishes)
  • a favorite Sonic drink or smoothie
  • homemade or store-bought goodies
  • face mask
  • flowers (inexpensive ones from the grocery store count)
  • treats for their pets
  • delivery of a takeout pizza
  • coffee mug and gift card to Starbucks

We even delivered rolls of toilet paper when it was scarce!

Elderly neighbors/friends/relatives who are local:

  • any of the above
  • sweets/nuts/snacks
  • tea bags/coffee
  • word find, crosswords, adult coloring books, and crayons
  • warm socks
  • body lotion, chap stick, hand sanitizer
  • handwritten note or card
  • CDs with their favorite music

Also consider helping a local older person with their lawn, picking up groceries and prescriptions, and delivering meals (homemade or takeout).

Elderly friends and relatives out of town:

  • A heartfelt letter or card is wonderful. Relatives especially love children’s artwork—if your two-year old scribbled on paper—send it to them!
  • Consider sending a care package with any of the items previously mentioned. If you are crafty, a homemade gift is awesome! It does not have to be fancy and ideas abound on Pinterest. My daughter and I made flower refrigerator magnets using felt, rhinestones, and a glue gun.
  • When you are short on time, many businesses will send flower/cookie/fruit bouquets, gift baskets, and care packages to someone across the miles.

Nursing home residents:

They would absolutely LOVE a card or note written by you, especially since visitors are currently not permitted. A card simply signed by you is appreciated! If you can, consider writing a little more. It may feel awkward writing someone you don’t know, so here are some suggestions: you can write about anything, even if it seems mundane:

  • tell them about you and your family, job, hobbies and past times
  • places you have lived or vacationed
  • music or books you enjoy
  • favorite memories
  • people who inspire you
  • you can even talk about the weather!

Words of encouragement and a mention that you are praying for them are especially meaningful.

A nursing home in Irving said they would be thrilled to receive mail to distribute to lonely residents. Cards/notes can be sent to:

Ashford Hall

Any resident

2021 Shoaf Dr.

Irving, Texas 75061

Medical professionals and others on the front lines:

  • many of the above items are appreciated by these individuals.
  • Don’t forget to feed them—they are exhausted! A freezer meal or a gift card to a restaurant or delivery service like Door Dash or Uber Eats is great gift.

Single parents:

  • In addition to assistance with food, please consider entertaining their children and giving them a much-needed break.

People suffering with mental illness at the onset of the pandemic have been hit particularly hard, and many more individuals have developed anxiety, depression, and even suicidal ideation recently. The importance of ministering to those who are mentally vulnerable cannot be overstated. Please consider:

  • many of the above ideas
  • a note in the mail encouraging them
  • a phone/Zoom call or text letting them know they are cared about and prayed for
  • Share resources with them if necessary (such as National Institute for the Mentally Ill ( and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).

Please don’t check in just once. Do it again. And again.

Need more people to bless?

  • your pastors and church staff
  • first responders, teachers, grocery store employees
  • post office/UPS/Amazon carriers
  • anyone who labors in your home or yard

And for some additional ideas...

  • give blood (check IBC website for drives or contact the Red Cross)
  • collect school supplies for needy students
  • create “blessing bags” with food and hygiene items for the homeless
  • donate what you don’t need (One of my girls is donating her hair to make wigs for cancer patients—think outside the box!)

Don’t forget to smile or wave at everyone you can!

Lastly, consider financially donating to your church or other charity such as the local food bank or an organization that provides rent and utility assistance. Churches and non-profits have taken a big hit because many regular contributors are out of work. Be as generous as possible but remember that even $5 helps.

If the pandemic is getting you down, look up and look around at the needs of others. I challenge you to take a few minutes this week to be kind to someone else. Reaching out will positively impact you, God’s kingdom, and others—the Bible guarantees it!

It is in giving that we receive.

—Saint Francis Assisi


God is calling us, the people of Irving Bible Church, to become a multi-ethnic movement of missionary disciples, formed in the way of Jesus for the sake of the world.

We want to be a transformed people who experience vibrant spiritual growth together. We want the Spirit of God to shape us more and more into the likeness of Jesus as we follow him.

If you'd like to write for the IBC Blog or would like to request a topic to be covered, we would love to hear from you. Email Us.

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